It has been hard to blog these past two weeks. The kids were on fall break and finding an empty computer in this house has been next to impossible. But fall break is over and I already miss them. I love having my kids home, school seems so much harder for us all. On Friday my girl scout troop and my close friend’s troop teamed up and went to the Exhotic Feline Rescue Center in Centerpoint, IN. www.exhoticfelinerescuecenter.org
We really enjoyed the trip. It is a wonderful non profit rescue that really cares about and for its animals. Getting there however, for me at least was a challenge.
I had always wanted to take my girl scout troop to this rescue. Lots of other scout troops I knew had gone and loved the experience. My girls are currently working on an animal badge and the trip fit perfectly. Since my troop is small, 4 girls, I set up the event and invited my very close friend Cassandra’s troop to come with us. Her troop is also fairly small. My girls were excited, I was excited, until I realized the logistics of the trip. My right foot still has nerve damage. To make the trip I would have to drive about an hour and a half there, walk for what was about an hour and 15 minutes and then drive an hour and a half home. My foot wouldn’t be able to do that. I was in a panic. My husband didn’t think he could take off work to be my driver, he would be traveling that week and unsure what day he would come home, So I spoke to Cassandra about canceling the trip. I prayed about the event and even felt that canceling was the thing to do and I was so disappointed about the decision. But Cassandra said very wisely “This is a problem we can solve.” The problem was we had 4 girls who needed rides plus me and my two girls. Cassandra lovingly was willing to rent a 12 passenger van, and drive, so that we could all attend. I was so humbled by her willingness to help. In the end with the help of my of my other girl scout mom Rebecca taking one girl, We all arrived. “Its more fun this way anyway,” Cassandra said, “Its an adventure.” She was right it was so much more fun to catch up with my friend and to have all the girls giggling and laughing in the back of the van. My foot did have issues walking in the cold I had a lot of numbness and was sure driving home would have been too hard. I am so thankful to my friend for not giving up and approaching the problem in such a positive, loving way. She certainly taught me something.
The actual rescue is wonderful. They have mostly tigers, bob cats, a black panther (which I learned is actually a leopard, ) lions and a few other big cats that have all been rescued. Some of them had been in circus’s, or animal shows or even theme parks. 4 had been rescued from a tattoo parlor in northern Indiana. Some of them were in good condition and had been cared for before arriving, others really had not. There were tigers with missing eyes, one that walked strangely due to neurological problems. The white tigers were the saddest to me. Our guide, Christina, explained that white tigers don’t occur in the wild anymore. They are inbreed and have many, many problems. The white tigers their were cross eyed, and one of them even had their organs on the wrong side of their body. They were beautiful but heart breaking.
Another tiger really caught my heart and was truly a God moment for me. It was a female that when found was actually paralyzed. Christina said the vets recommended extensive physical therapy for the tiger but because no one can get that close to them, the rescue is very strick about not allowing any person in a cage with a tiger for safety reasons, the vets recommended putting her down. The rescue was very upset about that and was coming to terms with it when all of a sudden the tiger started trying to stand. Christina said she didn’t do it for long but every day they saw the tiger work on standing, then work on walking, until finally the tiger was able to move about on its own. “She did her own physical therapy,” Christina said, “Many doctors have wrote papers on her because we didn’t know a wild animal could recover like this on their own.” When the tiger walks she has one back leg that she favors and Christina said that she had nerve damage to it so it falls asleep on her. I knew exactly how that poor tiger felt. But the story was such a reminder to me that it brought tears to my eyes. If God can take a tiger from a death sentence into walking. How much more can God heal me. The whole experience has been a lesson for me not to give up or in to fear.
The scouts really enjoyed the rescue. It was so cool to be so close to these animals. It was surprising hear the tigers and lions talk and chuff at Christina as she appeared before each enclosure and follow us as far as they could not afraid of us but happy for the visitors. You could tell these animals were happy, and well taken care of and well loved. I would encourage anyone to go and take a tour. If you have been there and want to tell the story of your visit. Please comment below.